• Jane Egginton

A Natural Retreat


My toddler and me travelled by train to St Austell and did the whole trip without a car, with both the beach and the Eden Project easily accessible by taxi (only a tenner each way). I had been just about to apply for a credit card, but instead decided on a UK holiday that wouldn’t break the bank.

There was a heat wave in London, but the temperature in this part of Cornwall was 18 degrees. We warmed ourselves in the Mediterranean climate inside the biome of the Eden Project, complete with Greek style white stone walls and rustic cafe.

A charming Harvest Festival was taking place and my little boy loved the Butter Thieves, an acoustic band that sang about potatoes and other local produce in an education and entertaining way. At the shop we stocked up on local wine, juice and cheese, although we needn't have bothered as at Natural Retreats we discovered a hamper groaning with all our favourite things: there was wine for mummy, fresh eggs for my husband and apple juice for our little one. There was even a high chair and a cot, supplied without request.

Paul, the concierge acted way and beyond the call of duty. Although at 8pm he should have gone home long before, he happily drove us to our spacious, well-appointed villa and even took us back to reception for us to pick up some DVDs. We were just a mile and a half from St Austell, yet a world away from the town in a real retreat: Paul told us we could hear two kinds of owls at night.

The next morning we took a walk to the Cornwall Hotel and Spa where we sipped on a very good Bloody Mary as helicopters landed in spectacular style next to the well equipped play area. Although a very good Sunday lunch is served at the hotel, we plumped for the White Hart in town that offers an excellent value carvery at 8.95. We lunched on roast beef with carrots, leeks, swede and cauliflower cheese as we listened to smooth live jazz and even had a dessert (cheesecake with clotted cream) for just another two pounds.

Back at the Natural Retreats at an historic site in Trewhiddle we appreciated the location that is perfect for exploring the local sites. The attention to detail here is impressive: along with kids crockery we were given a list of take aways that deliver as well as the details of the conveniently placed Asda. The directory also lists ten car-free days out in the area, which as well as the famed Eden Project (which is free for kids if you go by car) includes the Lost Gardens of Heligan.

www.naturalretreats.com

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